The New York Yankees have managed to save their season thanks to a 13-game winning streak and an overall dominant month of August.
The most surprising contributor to that hot streak? None other than Andrew Velazquez, a local kid from the Bronx whom the entire fan base rallied around.
For as uplifting as his story has been, Velazquez probably isn’t the long-term answer at shortstop for the Yankees. However, the fact Gleyber Torres wasn’t missed while he was filling in sparked questions about Torres’ future.
After all, No. 1 prospect Anthony Volpe is the complete package at SS — Valezquez is more defensive-minded, whereas Torres is an offensive-first player — and he’s been absolutely dominant for Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.
In light of Volpe’s expedited development, and Torres’ offensive production falling off a cliff since his first two seasons, is there a chance that Volpe could be the Yankees’ starting shortstop at some point next year?
Could Anthony Volpe be the Yankees’ starting SS next year?
It honestly depends on what the Yankees do with Torres. If Torres suffers another injury, Volpe would seemingly be the first choice to replace him. As far as being the everyday shortstop is concerned, however, the 20-year-old Volpe probably needs Torres to be moved in order to make that leap.
Think about it like this. The Yankees have a logjam in their infield, and these, at least in our eyes, are their current options.
The first is to sign a high-profile SS in free agency and move Torres back to second base, where he’s clearly more comfortable as far as defense is concerned. However, what would you do with DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela at that point?
The Yankees could also simply keep Torres as their shortstop of the future and use prospects like Volpe and Oswald Peraza as trade bait. If New York sees DJ and Gio as long-term pieces, they could float Torres around in trade talks and either pursue a big-name SS or promote someone like Volpe to the everyday role.
Of course, there’s great risk that comes with entrusting a 20-year-old as your everyday shortstop. Is Volpe ready for such a promotion? We probably have to see how he fares in Double-A and Triple-A before we know for certain.
However, the former first-round pick has been raking in 95 games between Low-A and High-A this season, hitting .298/.428/.607 with 23 (!) home runs, 77 RBI, 29 stolen bases, 107 hits, 99 runs scored and a 1.035 OPS.
Volpe certainly looks like the full package. While a lot of things have to break in his favor to make it happen, we definitely wouldn’t rule out the the New Jersey native being the Yankees starting shortstop at some point in 2022.